At times, your latest batch of antidepressants isn’t as effective as the one you took before. You check the dosage and it’s the same … but you aren’t.

The bottle is the same size as last time, the pills look the same, but something is off. It seems as if there’s nothing wrong with your medication.

Or is there?

Your medication could be the reason for your antidepressant side effects.

Here’s why medication quality matters–and what you can do to ensure the best quality antidepressants for your mental health.

Effective treatment of mental health disorders rely on following a consistent medication regimen, which includes quality medication. Your medication is supposed to meet all of the FDA’s minimum requirements, but who is checking that it is? Unfortunately, sometimes medication quality isn’t as high as it should be.

Here’s why:

First of all, 80 percent of medication ingredients are made offshore in countries with standards not as stringent as ours in the US. This makes it very important to independently test these imported batches to make sure they’re up to our standards.

Another reason for low-quality medications are some generics. Unlike (expensive) brand-name medications, generics are allowed more leeway to get their FDA approval. Yes, a generic medication must prove it is equivalent (or, bioequivalent, to be exact) to its brand-name counterpart; but, did you know that the FDA allows generic drug makers up to a 45% variation from the brand-name formulation? Without quality independent lab testing of imported and generic medications, neither you nor your doctor/psychiatrist actually know you’re getting the quality medication you need.

How can you be sure the reason behind your antidepressant side effects isn’t poor quality medications?

Let’s take an example. When you aren’t sure about the ketchup in your fridge—you check the expiration date and nutrition label that lists every ingredient in the bottle. Why doesn’t your medication have the same?

Pharmacies rarely, if at all, chemically test every batch of medication they sell—they rely on documents provided by the manufacturer itself. If samples aren’t independently tested from every batch, how can anyone be 100% sure that they meet standards?

If you’re not feeling right after taking your latest batch of antidepressants, be sure your medication comes with a Certificate of Analysis proving the medication meets the standards for the most important properties of all medications: the active ingredient, the major inactive ingredients, and roughly how they will dissolve in your body.

It’s about time that you can confidently ensure each batch of your medication is the best quality for your mental health. Shouldn’t you have as much information about your medication as you do about the condiment you dip your fries into?

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References:

https://www.fda.gov/drugs/guidancecomplianceregulatoryinformation/guidances/ucm075207.htm

https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM070237.pdf